Coming off a less than stellar 4-2 loss against Ohio State on Friday night, Michigan’s Nick Pastujov’ first career goal in the first period ended up being the difference maker.
In the final meeting of the regular season against rivals Ohio State, the Wolverines would enter Saturday night’s game coming off a tough 4-2 loss to the Buckeyes where they would give up two goals in the final seconds of the first and second periods, which seemed to take all the wind out of the sails of the Wolverines.
Saturday night’s game would seem to have a completely different feel to it, a sense of desperation mixed with a different attitude. Coach Red Berenson had senior goaltender Zach Nagelvoort start even though freshman netminder Jack LaFontaine had a stellar performance in Friday night’s 4-2 loss. Nagelvoort earned his first shutout since January of 2015. Nagelvoort stopped 42 shots in the victory.
“He looked solid from the first shot. That gives your team confidence,” Berenson said of Nagelvoort.
At 9:39 of the first period, Pastujov scored the eventual game winner when he would deflect a Niko Porikos shot from the corner past Ohio State netminder Christian Frey to give them an early 1-0 lead.
For the last two and a half periods, both teams would battle back and forth while on 5-on-5 to gain any bit of momentum they could muster to break the 1-0 hold on the game. Neither Michigan nor Ohio State would be able to gain any advantage and Michigan would win their lowest scoring game of the season, snapping a recent 4 game losing streak.
“I thought we showed up at the start of the game and played like we thought we could,” Berenson said of his teams performance.
Michigan will head back to Yost Ice Arena for the last two weekends of the regular season. They will battle Minnesota on March 3 and 4.